In 1993, Doug McKeever and Richard West invited their ultrarunning friends to join them on a favorite training run around Chuckanut Mountain, south of Bellingham. Twenty or so people participated that first year and the feedback was sufficiently positive that the run has continued and grown into an annual ‘fun run.’ The original course was about 33 miles and had sections of highway and some private property. They settled on a 50 km (31.1 mile) route in 1995. In 2002 Doug and Richard decided that they would like to pass on the race directing responsibilities after putting on 10 very successful Chuckanut Mountain 50 km trail runs. Krissy decided to ensure the future of the Chuckanut 50 km as it was her first ultra experience in 2000. After a few years of threatening to change the course Krissy committed to the current course as a dedication to her friend Dave Terry who passed fall of 2009.
Chuckanut Mountain is just south of Bellingham, Washington, where the foothills of the Cascades meet the salt water.
The Chuckanut 50K course is a lollipop configured loop. An out and back on the Interurban Trail make up the first 10 km as well as the last 10 km. Sandwiched between these relatively flat miles runners will enjoy a climb up the Fragrance Lake Trail, a descent to Cleator Road on 2 dollar trail, then climb Cleator Road (dirt, occasional traffic) to the beautiful Ridge Trail, Lost Lake Trail (muddy), Cyrus Gates Overlook, and back down to the Interuban Trail via Cleator Rd. and Fragrance Lake Rd. The Interurban Trail that warmed you up in the morning will be waiting to finish you off for your finish.
Required Trail Work
New in 2020 all runners are encouraged to participate in 4 hours of trail work or volunteer at a race. Our intent is to require this for the 2021 event. There is more information and a Volunteer Form that needs to be filled out by March 10th — Google Doc link provided on our website.
There is an 8 HOUR time limit. Anyone arriving at aid station #4 (20 miles) after 2:30 PM will be offered a ride to the finish. Aid station #5 (mile 24.6) will close down at 3 PM.
As offered for the first time in 2019, we will once again offer an early start at 7am.
There are five aid stations minimally stocked with the basics at miles 6.3, 10.5, 13.4, 20.5, and 24.6. It is mandatory that you carry at least one water bottle. In an effort to make this race more environmentally sound we are minimizing trash. There will NOT be cups available at aid stations; instead we will provide water pitchers to easily fill your bottles or collapsible race cups. It is suggested that you also carry special food needs, because aid stations will be stocked with basic race foods.
Please only run in this race if you have an assigned Chuckanut 50km bib number. Our permits allow us to have a set amount of runners on the trail and we therefore can not allow additional pacers, runners or self-supported runners on the course. Thank you for honoring this.
After the race
Race Sponsors and Supporters create a festive finish line to welcome you back to Fairhaven. Bring dry clothes to change so that you can hang out and cheer in other runners. We are bringing in Food Trucks to kickstart your well earned recovery.
Additional post race festivities are in the works! Please check the race website for details.
Race organization great
Race organizers rock and Krissy Moehl brings in great sponsors- course is lollipop with good mix of flat/fast and some tough technical sections MORE
Race organizers rock and Krissy Moehl brings in great sponsors- course is lollipop with good mix of flat/fast and some tough technical sections
Tough 50K for first-timer
The good: This race starts in Fairhaven/Bellingham, which is a beautiful location with some good brewery options for a post-race meal. Parking was easy and spacious. The first 10K (which … MORE
The good: This race starts in Fairhaven/Bellingham, which is a beautiful location with some good brewery options for a post-race meal. Parking was easy and spacious. The first 10K (which is the same as the last 10K) was relatively easy and it was nice to get a preview of the finish. The remaining 30k going up and down Chuckanut mountain is tough but scenic, and includes the famous ridge trail that is both fun and technical. The weather, which is typically bad according to veterans of this course, was perfect, with temps in the low- to mid-50s and no rain. And while a lack of training made this race particularly brutal for me, there were a number of other factors that left me feeling underwhelmed with this race. The aid stations seemed few and far between (although I was thrilled that they reduce waste by eliminating paper cups). I only saw one photographer- at the top of a section called ‘chin scraper’, where you basically crawl your way toward the camera. There is absolutely no swag from this race (unless you purchased a shirt… does that even qualify as swag if you buy it?). And I don’t typically care about medals (all of mine are in a shoebox or mixed in with the kids’ toys), but after finishing my first 50K, I really would have enjoyed getting something at the finish line, even if just a high-five or simply a photo of me finishing. I suppose if you are avid ultra runner, then you will probably enjoy the minimalist aspects of this race production. This was the first race I’ve done where I was completely underwhelmed at the finish.